Concert Foul No. 18: Standing at a Seated Show
|These things are called "chairs." They're meant for sitting.|
Fact is, many of the area's best venues make the choice of whether to sit or to stand during the show an easy one. By typically not offering seats (at least on the floor or directly in front of the stage) for the rowdier shows, the awkward scenario that sneakily unfolds when attendees are expected to sit is generally avoided.
Of course, then you have concerts such as Bon Iver's recent gig at the too-good-to-be-true Winspear Opera House. On paper, leading up to the highly-anticipated show, this pairing of artist and venue seemed to be an inspired arrangement. And, musically, it was a rousing and goose bump-inducing success that will go down as one of the greatest shows of 2011 in Dallas.
Interestingly enough, though, the rock-band-playing-in-an-opera-house dynamic shined a light on something that might be one of the more understandable, yet still unnecessary, concert fouls in the book: The Sitting Show Stander.
There are other, more minor issues at play in such a venue -- the random screamers are far more discernible in such a serene setting, for one example -- that border on Concert Foul status, but those seem to be a more a cousin of the Sitting Show Stander, as they are also the result of a person probably just trying to get the most out of their concert experience and not being sure how to get that in this unexpectedly bizarro-world scenario.
The primary annoyance of the Sitting Show Stander is logistically simple, emotionally understandable, yet philosophically infuriating. Regardless of the motivation, the core of this foul is the common culprit among so many other concert fouls: blatant inconsideration for fellow concert-attendees.
If you want to know whether you'll be expected to sit during the show, just look around. The couple of thousand people occupying the show around your seat will likely yield the answer.
It's easy when you're at the Winspear to see a lecture or an operatic production. You sit, period. Even at the Bass Hall in Fort Worth, when Lyle Lovett or Robert Earl Keen makes their regular appearances there, people know to sit. Much of that, of course, is due to a much higher median age than what made up last week's Bon Iver show, though.
Call this ageism, but older folks like to sit at their concerts. To quote Ron Burgundy, "It's science."
If Bon Iver had taken to the stage wielding only acoustic instrumentation and proceeded only with candlelight illuminating the stage (which would be a natural setting for much of his work), then I imagine people would've felt compelled to sit throughout the night, without any fouls being committed, emotional drunkenness be damned.
But when pulsating strobes, thundering drums and Slash-like guitar solos began to show themselves early and often, the pairing of musical style and venue became understandably confusing for those who like to salute the ones who are about to rock.
Hey, if the occasion arises where the crowd begins to stand en masse to enjoy the show, then it becomes a standing show -- period. And, really, there's nothing saying that a show's standing or sitting status can't be fluid. But it's doubtful that will happen too terribly often at a venue like the Winspear, unless the ATTPAC folks decided to book, say, GWAR to their confines.
The question at hand: Does the purchase of a ticket provide the holder with unlimited license to carry on in any manner they choose, simply because the song being played is "their jam" or whatever?
The answer: No. The Sitting Show Stander is making a clear and defiant decision that, while hundreds or thousands are sitting around and behind them, they are the ones who are right, even though the numbers glaringly suggest otherwise.
As with a previous Concert Foul -- shouting out requests -- the Sitting Show Stander is a creature that is born not only out of inconsideration, but, in all fairness, out of great passion. I get it, I really do. The songs of one's favorite artist are very personal and carry a ton of emotional weight with the Stander. But that's probably the case for the person adhering to the sitting protocol behind the Stander as well.
Maybe the Sitting Show Stander would realize that if they sat down long enough to take in their surroundings. It's called common courtesy.